MARX, Karl; RIFAT, Haydar (trans.)


Istanbul: Sirketi Mürettibiye Matbaasi, 1933 Stock Code: 142650
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First edition in Turkish of Das Kapital

First appearance in book form of Marx's Das Kapital in Turkish, being the first edition of Haydar Rifat's translation, and the first book-length translation (preceded only by Bohor Israel's summary translation in a 1912 journal).

The translation is from Gabriel Deville's French abridgement of the first volume of Das Kapital, originally published in Paris in 1883. Internationally acclaimed, Deville's abridgement "did more to disseminate the arguments of Marx's revered but unread magnum opus than did any other publication before or since" (Stuart, Marxism at Work, p. 25). The translation was undertaken by Haydar Rifat (1877-1942), later known as Yorulmaz, one of the most prominent translators of the late Ottoman and early Republican periods. Particularly associated with the formation of the leftist discourse in Turkey, his 1910 translation of George Tournaire's Le Socialisme is held to be the first socialist book published in Turkish (see Konca, p. 81, 86ff).

The translation was preceded only by a short summary of Das Kapital in Turkish by the socialist Bohor Israel in 1912, which was published as an article in the first and only issue of his journal Ceride-i Felsefiye (Philosophical Newspaper) under the title "Iktisad-i Içtimaiye" (Social Economics). However, this was described by Israel himself as less a translation than a "summary of the summary" (Savran & Tonak, p. 2); this is therefore the first sustained translation (as opposed to a summary), and the first appearance of Das Kapital in Turkish in book form.

Rifat's translation came suprisingly late, long after the founding of the Turkish Communist Party in 1920. It immediately provoked controversy among Turkish socialist intellectuals, sparking a series of critiques regarding accuracy of translation and conformity to Marxist orthodoxy. It prompted two rival translations in 1936 by Turkish Communists: a 32 page summary by Nevzat Cerrahlar under the pseudonym Kerim Sadi, drawn from Paul Lafargue's 1893 French abridgement, and a more substantial attempt by Suphi Nuri Ileri, based on Carlo Cafiero's 1879 Italian abridgement. Another Rukish abridgement by Hikmet Kivilcimli was serialized in 1937.

"The rather feverish activity of translating Kapital into Turkish, albeit in abridged form... ended abruptly in 1938. Turkey had been moving for some time away from the Soviet Union and towards Nazi Germany, a trend that would last until the final years of World War II. This culminated in a series of attacks on the Turkish Communist movement. In 1938, the one-party regime proceeded to ban certain Marxist works that had been published in preceding years. Kapital was among the list of prohibited works" (Savran & Tonak, p. 4).

No doubt due to the suppression of socialist literature in Turkey from 1938, this translation is rare - no institutional copies are located by WorldCat.

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Small octavo. Original wrappers, printed in red and black.


Light rubbing and wear at edges, spine expertly restored, faint creases to front wrapper, light staining around spine, contents clean; a very good copy.


See Konca, "The Turkish Retranslations of Marx's Das Kapital as a Site of Intellectual and Ideological Struggle", in Studies from a Retranslation Culture, Şehnaz and Gürçağlar, 2019; Savran & Tonak, "Marx's Capital in Turkey", Routledge Handb


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